Student Artists Clay-m to Fame

"Bounce," by LeJonique Trim, was inspired by the music and dance styles of New Orleans. Photo by Dylan Flos

The Hugh McPeck Gallery in the student union is currently hosting the 2022 Annual Clay Body Ceramic Invitational, the first major exhibition of the new year. The Clay Body club is composed of UAA students, generally those enrolled in ceramics classes within the art department, who are interested in expanding their artistic ability and creations beyond the classroom. Although the opening ceremony event has passed, you can still see the student art pieces on display until Feb. 18 (in person, too!).

Professors of UAA ceramics classes selected their favorite works and offered students the chance to put their work on display. Although a few works were selected from beginner-level classes, the majority on display are from intermediate and higher level ceramics classes.

One side of Amy Schilling's "Masking (The Things We Hide)," which compares one's external image to the thoughts inside them. Photo by Dylan Flos

“Bounce”, LeJonique Trim’s graffiti-inspired earthenware project, greets you into the gallery with bright, energetic colors and flowing movement meant to materialize the bouncy music and dance styles from New Orleans. My eyes were then immediately drawn to Amy Schilling’s “Masking (The Things We Hide)” in the center of the room, a sharp contrast to the piece that initially brings you in. Schilling has several works on display, representing the internal struggle of fighting one’s mental health. “Masking (The Things We Hide)” shows a duality of one’s external image and internal thoughts in a way only possible through a 3-dimensional medium such as this. 

Two pieces by Lauren Stanford, “Provider” and “Palpitations,” are made from the struggles we all are far too familiar with by now: pandemic-induced isolation. 

"Provider" is one of two pieces by Lauren Stanford embodying the struggles of isolation caused by the pandemic. Photo by Dylan Flos

On the exhibit label for Lauren’s pieces, she said “What I found is the sense of community and belonging may not cure an illness entirely, but with time and patience, it will alleviate symptoms. Acknowledgment leads to healing.” 

Whether it be years worth of social interactions and community building, someone we loved, or any number of other things, all of us lost something over the past two years, and many of us significantly struggled with the mental health effects of long-term isolation.

The gallery is open Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:00 a.m to 12:45 p.m and 4:30 p.m to 5:30 p.m, as well as Wednesdays 10 a.m to 2:30 p.m, until Feb. 18. If you are unable to visit in person, some of the works on presentation are visible online, through the Clay Body Club and Hugh McPeck Gallery’s Instagram (uaa_ceramics and uaahmpgallery) and Facebook (UAA Clay Body and Hugh McPeck Gallery) pages. However, most of these pieces haven’t been made available digitally, and especially with 3-dimensional mediums such as clay sculptures, an in-person visit to the gallery will feel far more impactful if you are able to. The gallery is located right in the student union on campus - stop by at some point between classes!

The next exhibit to be presented at the Hugh McPeck Gallery, the 2D/3D Invitational, will be similar in that professors of UAA art classes will be nominating their favorite works from students, although the artistic medium will be expanded to include any 2 or 3-dimensional works, and they will be selected specifically from beginner level classes.